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HealthInfo Canterbury

Self-care for NAFLD

If you have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), there are several things you can do to stop it getting worse.

Stay a healthy weight

Keep your weight within your healthy weight range. If you're an unhealthy weight, losing 5 to 10% of your body weight can remove some fat from your liver.

Aim to lose weight at a rate of 0.5 to 1 kg per week.

Eat well

Eating well together with keeping active can stop NAFLD from getting worse. There's no special diet you should follow but the Mediterranean diet may help. Although this diet wasn't created for people with fatty liver disease, it includes the kinds of foods that can help reduce the fat in your liver.

Enjoy a cup of coffee

Coffee is good for liver health. Regularly drinking moderate amounts of coffee (three to five cups a day) can slow the progression of liver disease such as fatty liver in some people. Drinking coffee may also prevent liver cancer and lower your risk of other liver conditions such as fibrosis (scar tissue) and cirrhosis.

These benefits of coffee have been found in various types of coffee including filtered, instant and espresso.

Although drinking coffee may help, other lifestyle measures, such as eating well, being active and keeping to a healthy weight are most important for good liver health.

Go easy on alcohol

Drinking alcohol may make your fatty liver worse. Alcohol is also high in calories so if you're an unhealthy weight, cutting back may help you lose weight.

Be active every day

Being active regularly can help to remove some fat from your liver and help you manage your weight.

Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking or cycling most days of the week. All types of physical activity can help improve fatty liver so choose activities you enjoy.

If you need help being more active, talk to your GP, practice nurse or other health professional about a Green Prescription or a referral to a personal trainer or physiotherapist for specific advice and support.

Don’t smoke

If you smoke, stopping can help reduce your risk of problems that are common in people with fatty liver such as heart attacks and strokes.

Be careful with herbal remedies and dietary supplements

Some herbal remedies and dietary supplements can harm your liver. Check with your GP or pharmacist before you take any herbal remedy or dietary supplement to make sure it’s safe for you and won’t interact with other medications.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last updated July 2021.

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